As a Houston marriage counselor, people come to me wanting to learn how to be a better wife or husband, but often the first step is learning to become a better friend. Over time, many couples spend less time nurturing their relationship, particularly when a child comes along. But the truth is, couples struggling with relationship issues can become resentful towards one another.  Everyone, especially your children, no matter how young or old they are, will pick up on criticism and resentment. The stress from your marriage will rub off on your kids and can cause a host of behavior problems. So maintaining your friendship isn’t just important for your role as a spouse, but also as a parent.

Make the time. How do you maintain your relationships with your friends? It’s likely you schedule outings together, such as having lunch, going on a shopping trip, or watching a football game. Do the same for your spouse at least once a week. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You can go out to eat, visit a park, or just take a walk around the block. Whatever gives you time to connect and talk to each other.

Join in activities. It’s likely you share some different interests, so consider joining your partner in what he or she enjoys best, whether it’s going fishing or taking a dance class. Even if you learn it’s not for you, you might have a better understanding of why your partner enjoys this activity. You should also try to find hobbies and activities that you both enjoy to participate in together regularly.

Be respectful. You would never dream of giving the silent treatment to a co-worker or rolling your eyes at a friend, but almost every day in my work as a Houston marriage counselor, clients complain about these behaviors from their spouses. Why? Sometimes we are so intimate with someone that we forget our words and actions can hurt their feelings. You take them for granted, but they need to feel valued and comfortable, just like your friends do, and even more so because of unconscious wounding getting triggered far more easily by their most intimate best friend, than any of their other friends.

Be supportive. With all the responsibilities of modern life, it is easy to focus on what your partner messed up. The bill that wasn’t paid, or the lawn that still isn’t mowed.  But it’s important to acknowledge the positives. Be generous with your compliments and appreciation. Remember, you’re both on the same team.

Laugh. It is often said that the key to friendship is laughter. It’s no different in a marriage. Lighten up, be silly, crack jokes. You used to do that, a lot, when you were dating and courting.You may find that laughter starts to infect your entire family!

Talk to a Houston marriage counselor. If you’ve become so disconnected from each other that you don’t know where to start, seek help sooner rather than later. Call our offices today to learn new relationship skills from an experienced Houston marriage counselor.

People often seek relationship advice when the fighting starts to become such a huge problem that it’s the most prominent form of communication. As two individuals with separate needs and desires, it is only natural for you to have your differences, but here’s the good news: it doesn’t always have to result in an argument. You just need to master the art of the compromise.

Compromising doesn’t mean just giving in to your partner, nor does it mean that you have to agree. Instead, it means that together you have come to an agreement about a solution that accommodates your differences in opinion.

Don’t worry about being right. Trying to “win” the argument isn’t going to make things better. It will just lead to more fighting. Instead try to find alternatives that make room for both of your opinions. That way, you both win. Remember that a part of each of us exists in the unconscious that will always feel a ‘need’ to win, be better than, get love any way it can, defend against ‘hurt,’ etc. It will always ‘worry about being right.’  Gently soothe this part of your Ego while choosing to live in the Present with your Real Self that is powerful and attuned to your Core Values.

Be aware of your emotional state. Did you enter the discussion ready for a fight? Sometimes when we expect resistance from our partner, we unintentionally create it by putting our spouse on the defensive. Perhaps the most valuable piece of relationship advice I can give on this topic is: take a break if you need to. You want to talk about the issue when you have the time and patience to be respectful with one another.

Take turns. You both should have the opportunity to explain your feelings on the matter. When it’s your partner’s turn to talk, really listen. Don’t interrupt. Focus on trying to understand what he or she has to say. You don’t have to agree with it, but the more you understand about your partner’s point of view, the easier it will be to come up with a compromise that works for both of you. If you find you’re having trouble with this process, sometimes it can be helpful to work with a Houston marriage counselor.

Don’t criticize. Remember, the goal isn’t to show that your partner is wrong. You want to find a compromise that addresses your concerns as well as your partner’s. You may both have to give on certain things, so express the areas that you are willing to compromise on and those that are most important to you.

Get Relationship Advice Sooner Rather Than Later

Don’t wait until things get really bad to get help. Learning communication skills can help you prevent bigger problems in the future. Talk to a Houston marriage counselor today for relationship advice.

We’ve all heard relationship advice, “don’t bring your work home,” but it’s virtually impossible to do. Even if you aren’t literally bringing home spreadsheets and profit and loss graphs, what goes on at work affects your home life. If you had a good day at work, you’re more likely to be in a good mood when you get home. If you’re stressed out about an upcoming presentation, you may inadvertently take it out on your spouse. And of course, there are literally times where you have to do work at home because of work overload or an impending deadline, and this can put strain on your responsibilities at home.

Relationship Advice for Keeping Your Relationship Happy If Your Work Life Isn’t

In Houston marriage counseling, I work with people to help them recognize how their mood at home can be impacted by what’s going on at work. It’s totally natural, but it can be beneficial to recognize that what you’re really upset about isn’t your partner, it’s your boss or your co-worker or a client. My relationship advice for this scenario is to take a step back from the situation, take a few deep breaths, and apologize for your behavior.

And of course, there’s the other side of this, if your partner is coming home stressed from work, you can learn to be more patient and understanding. One of the best ways you can help your partner get through this is to check in every day. How was work? Your spouse may not always want to talk about it, but you can be there to listen if he or she needs to vent, and often, even if your partner doesn’t want to share much, you’ll have some insight into their mood.

If you find that your job is putting undue stress on your relationship, you may want to consider a job change. It may make things tougher for a while as you focus on the job hunt every day after work, but get your partner on board. Your goal is to be happier in your work life, so you can be more pleasant to be around afterwards. You can work together toward finding you a new job.

If you need further relationship advice for keeping the emotions that you bring home from work from putting a strain on your marriage, I encourage you to give me a call for Houston marriage counseling.

As a Houston marriage counselor, I’ve seen many couples deal with the aftermath of an affair. It’s usually the toughest challenge of their relationship. Rebuilding trust and reconnecting takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience on the part of both partners. That’s why I counsel other clients who have relationship problems but have not experienced infidelity on how to avoid having an affair. When times are tough, sometimes we can be tempted to go elsewhere for a connection, but this will just make things harder.

One of the most common places that infidelity occurs is in the workplace. You spend at least 8 hours a day with these people. You share common experiences that bond you together. You already have a connection to your co-workers, so taking it to the next level can be tempting if you’re not careful. But it’s not inevitable. Here are a few tips from this experienced Houston marriage counselor on preventing an office affair.

Houston Marriage Counselor’s Tips for Avoiding an Office Affair

Don’t flirt. Some offices have a lax environment where people joke and tease each other. That’s great, and can contribute to a really wonderful work environment. But make sure that these jokes stay away from flirtation. Even if you’re joking, it can be the first step toward an affair.

Don’t get drunk. Many people make it a tradition to go out after work for a beer or a glass of wine. Maybe it’s to celebrate a big accomplishment or just the fact that you made it through another week. Whatever the reason, make sure that you keep things under control. A good rule is to limit yourself to just one drink. Remember, alcohol lowers your inhibition, so even if you don’t think it would lead to anything, it’s better safe than sorry.

Keep your personal life at home. Don’t share details about your relationship at work, and don’t become a confidant for someone else’s relationship problems. Not only is it unprofessional, but this type of bonding sometimes leads to infidelity. If you need to talk to someone, consider confiding in a Houston marriage counselor.

Don’t have a “work spouse.” Many people have someone at work that they turn to for support when they need it. This can be a life-saver on particularly stressful days. But avoid having this friend be a member of the opposite sex. When times get tough at home, often people turn to the sympathetic shoulder they have at work, and this can lead to infidelity.

Don’t meet alone with a member of the opposite sex outside of work. If it’s for professional purposes, no problem! Otherwise, decline the invitation or see if someone else can come along.

If you feel tempted to have an office affair or are coping with the aftermath of infidelity, it can help to have professional support. Call my offices to talk to a qualified Houston marriage counselor.